The Catholic Church’s shameful history of Native American abusesRoundup
tags: Catholic Church, Native American history
William S. Cossen is the book review editor for H-SHGAPE (Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era) and is currently working on his first book, "Making Catholic America: Religious Nationalism in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era."
The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on Friday was marred by a disturbing incident. Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha Nation, tried to intervene in a conflict between a large group of teenagers, many of whom wore red Make America Great Again hats, and activists from the militant Hebrew Israelites, a group whose long enemies list includes "whites, Jews, Asians, members of the LGBTQ community, abortion rights advocates and continental Africans, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
What happened next is in dispute: we know that the teens, who are students at a Catholic high school in Kentucky and participants in the simultaneous March for Life, began chants. Phillips claims they were hurling insults, and 11th grader Nick Sandmann stood inches from Phillips with a smirk on his face.
Footage of the incident provoked immediate denunciations. New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (D) condemned the “students’ display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance,” calling it “a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration.”
The political dimensions of the students’ actions are obvious, given the hats several of them wore. Phillips noted afterward, “I heard them saying, ‘Build that wall. Build that wall.’ ” Nor was that the only way the students were echoing President Trump. Just five days before the Indigenous People’s March, Trump continued his racist attacks against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), once again referring to her on Twitter as “Pocahontas” and, in an outrageous twist, making light of the 1890 massacre of hundreds of Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee by U.S. soldiers.
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